Grade 1 Science

Within the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), there are three distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science. These dimensions are combined to form each standard—or performance expectation—and each dimension works with the other two to help students build a cohesive understanding of science over time.

We Are Scientists!

Unit Sketch

"We are Scientists!" is the first part of a four-week NGSS launch. During Weeks 1 - 2, students learn about what scientists do and what tools, practices, and processes they use to develop explanations related to natural phenomena. They launch their Science Notebooks and use them to collect and analyze data from various observational activities and/or investigations. The focus is on observing and asking questions as well as trying one or more scientific practices to explore their scientific question.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Science is a way of knowing. Its purpose is to explain the natural (and material) world. It is both a set of practices and the historical accumulation of knowledge.
  • Science involves wondering, investigating, questioning, data collecting and analyzing.
  • Scientists use a variety of tools and practices to answer questions about the world and its phenomena.
  • The scientific process is not linear. It is an ongoing process that may include one or more of these practices:

1. Asking questions

2. Developing and using models

3. Planning and carrying out investigations

4. Analyzing and interpreting data

5. Using mathematics and computational thinking

6. Constructing explanations

7. Engaging in argument from evidence

8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Reflect on what science is and what scientists do
  • See, think, and wonder about a picture of nature
  • Apply scientific tools and practices
  • Reflect on "doing science"

"I Can Statements":

I can describe what scientists do.

I can describe ways in which scientists work.

I can identify tools that a scientist uses.

We Are Engineers!

Unit Sketch

Students learn about what engineers do and what tools, practices, and processes they use to design solutions to problems. Students launch their Engineering & Design Notebooks and use the Design Process to participate in an Engineering Challenge.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Engineering begins with a problem.
  • Engineers use a variety of tools and methods to solve problems through a design process.
  • An engineer's design process includes these steps: Define the Problem, Do Research, Develop a Possible Solution, Design and Build a Prototype of the Solution, Test, Evaluate the Design Solution.
  • Engineers test solutions multiple times before succeeding at designing a solution that solves a problem.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Identify what engineering is and what it isn't
  • Apply engineering tools and practices (the design process)
  • Reflect on "doing engineering" via an engineering challenge

Structure, Function, and Information Processing

Unit Sketch

Through exploration, students will learn how animals and plants develop and grow in the context of protection and survival.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water and air.
  • Plants have different parts that help them survive and grow.
  • Humans can mimic characteristics of plants and animals to solve problems.
  • Parents and the offspring themselves engage in behaviors that help the offspring to survive.
  • Offspring look similar to but not exactly like their parents.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Examine diagrams of various animals and identify specific parts and their functions (i.e. turtleshells for protection, elephant trunks for communication, etc.)
  • Compare animal and plant survival techniques in a Venn Diagram
  • Examine diagrams of various plants and identify specific parts and their functions
  • Describe and explain what would happen to a plant if one of the plant’s parts was broken or missing (i.e. without leaves, the plant would be unable to make food, etc.)
  • Compare and contrast animal, plant, and human characteristics for similar functions
  • Make connections between animal/plant characteristics and solutions to human problems
  • Explain the connections among various animals that care for their young in similar ways

Waves: Light and Sound

Unit Sketch

In this unit of study, students are expected to develop an understanding of the relationship between light and the ability to see, and the relationship between sound and vibrating materials.The unit begins with an exploration of the need for light in order to see by comparing the viewing of objects in the dark vs. in the light. Students will understand the idea that light travels from place to place and what happens when objects made from different materials are placed in the path of light.

The cross-cutting concepts of cause and effect is explored through the planning and carrying out of light and sound investigations. Students make observations and construct an evidence-based explanation (claim + observable evidence) about the need for light to see.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

Light:

  • Objects need light to be seen.
  • Objects can be seen if they give off their own light or if there is light to illuminate them.
  • Some materials allow light to pass through them.
  • Some materials allow only some light to pass through them.
  • Other materials block all the light and create a dark shadow on any surface beyond them.

Sound:

  • Waves move, but the medium doesn't.
  • The vibrations of matter produce different sounds.
  • Sounds can create vibrations.

Communication:

  • People use a variety of devices that utilize light and sound to communicate over long distances.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Observe sound and light phenomena
  • Ask questions related to sound and light phenomena to spur inquiry
  • Compare and contrast what can be seen in light and in darkness
  • Compare and contrast the effect of light on different objects
  • Plan and conduct investigations to answer a question related to light and its effect on objects
  • Plan and conduct investigations to answer a question related to sound and its vibrations
  • Design an object that produces sound/vibrations
  • Design a device, tool, or method to communicate over a distance using sound or light (across the room, across a field, etc.)

Space Systems: Patterns and Cycles: Parts 1 and 2

Unit Sketch

This unit uses data that has been collected over time for students to understand patterns and cycles in regards to the sun, moon, and stars.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Sunrise and sunset follows that can be observed, described, and predicted.
  • The sun moves in a particular direction during the day.
  • The amount of daily sunlight changes throughout the year.
  • We can see more during the daytime than at night.
  • We can't usually see the stars during the day.
  • We can see patterns when we look at the sun, moon, and stars over time.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

Use observations of the sun and moon to describe patterns that can be predicted.

  • Ask questions to determine the cause and effect of sun and/or moon phenomena.
  • Develop a model to explain the cause and effect of sun/moon system.
  • Carry out an investigation to determine patterns in the sun/moon system.
  • Use observations of the sun/moon system to describe patterns that can be predicted.

Use observations of the stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

  • Ask questions to explore patterns of star visibility.
  • Construct an explanation from their model with evidence for the patterns of star visibility during the day.

Make observations at different times of year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year.

  • Plan and carry out an investigation to explore patterns of the amount of daylight at different times of the year.
  • Analyze and interpret data related to the patterns of the amount of daylight at different times of the year.
  • Construct an explanation from the data related to the patterns of the amount of daylight at different times of the year.